My next gig!

26th june poster

    Here's another tune from my last concert at Pizza Express.

Live recording of my next album at Pizza Express on Monday 30th April.

I enjoyed an amazing night at Pizza Express on Monday. Recently I have been enjoying listening to a sax player called Bob Reynolds . He plays alongside John Mayer and is an artist in his own right. He has released albums which I think are very interesting. One of these is a live album which reminded me of how much I prefer live recordings. I wanted to record the night at Pizza Express as my next album. The problem with this idea is simple, if you don't play very well then the recording will be pointless and expensive. Over the last few years as well as writing and recording on the London Experiment, I have been writing tunes which were designed to be duos however since rehearsing for the recording myself and the musicians in the band have added to the arrangements of which I am really pleased. The night produced some of the best compositions and performances I have ever worked on (In my opinion) The composition below is called 'Living The Dream' which is actually an old tune which is on my first album 'Butterfly'

            Here's a review wriiten by Stephen Graham from Jazzwise;

Joined by surprise guest singer Randolph Matthews, sounding uncannily like Bobby McFerrin in the vocals department, saxophonist/flautist Rob Hughes recorded his latest album with his quintet live at Pizza Express Jazz Club last night in front of a mellow audience made up of what sounded like a fairly large contingent of smartphone-wielding Italians.

Hughes – last heard by Jazzwise in Camden at the Blues Kitchen in US blues guitarist Matt Backer’s band last December – has a pretty robust sound on the tenor saxophone, imbued with a Dan-like horn section swagger but last night it was his flute playing that had an additional edge, which slightly recalled the great Hubert Laws. His brief, tip-top duo vocals with Matthews later on also showed an extra element to Hughes’ range as the band backed the pair. But the tricksy lines of his self-penned song ‘I’m not being funny but’ or his unusual tribute to Stan Getz, whose music the “head of hairdressing” at the Kidderminster college where Hughes studied rock and jazz introduced him to – he told the momentarily mystified audience – more than indicated the saxophonist’s mettle and improvising flair.

With acid jazz era favourite Roger Beaujolais on the vibraphone tucked in behind him, Rick Laughlin from The London Experiment on piano and pitch bending keys to his side, plus the slightly more reticent bass of big Dane Henrik Jensen and soul/funk drummer Francesco Mendolia, Matthews was the big surprise of the evening, and he and Hughes will reconvene later in the year for a duo gig at Kings Place. With great dexterity and skill in finding his vocalese direction within the wash of pedal generated saxophone polyphonics triggered by Hughes the McFerrin-esque and his Bona-like effects were nonetheless coming from a creative space, even if the tunes took a while to get going. Hughes and Matthews excelled on a new arrangement of ‘Living The Dream’, featured on Hughes’ 2006 album Butterfly, and Beaujolais was able to stretch out more and more as the gig went on, adding a new dimension to the fast unfolding sound.

Stephen Graham


 

        The above tune features a fantastic vocalist I have known for a while now Randolph Matthews. We are playing a duo gig together on Sunday 16th September 2012 at the fantastic new concert venue Kings Place in Kings Cross. I happy to tell you the event is free!

South Africa

 

I flew out to Durban in South Africa in Feb to play for several different artists. It was fun but also lots of hard work as we had 3 days to rehearse with 9 artists! We then flew the next day and sound checked for 4 hours which was testing!. Luckily the weather was fab and on the first day it was very windy which kept me relatively cool. The next day was the gig which was hot with no wind! However the stage seemed to avoid direct sunlight throughout the day so that really helped. I placed a camera on the stage just as an experiment and above is what came out. I don't know if it's interesting or not but I thought you could let me know..in a nice way!

           Anyway the concert went well with over 20,000 people attending also I managed to make it into the sea the next day which was so warm I loved it! You have to keep your wits about you in South Africa but without a doubt it's a beautiful country which I think is starting to move in the right direction.

Sri Lanka

 

I woke up last Monday morning after a big gig the night before thinking 'lie in'... oh yes. Then the phone rang...'Could you fly out to Sri Lanka tonight to play for Billy Ocean'. Result no lie in. In fact a lie seems to be a thing of the past I need to come to terms with. So I packed went to Heathrow, flew for 12 hours traveled to the venue in Columbo and played a gig with Billy (who is a very cool guy x 100!) We then went to the Hotel, ate a meal, slept then flew home the next day. I have to confess I was a little grouchy on the return flight. There is only so much flyinging I can take, I think it's a combination of not being on the ground plus being forced to be in a small tube with lots of people for hours on end.

                      Above you can see a video montage of the gig, I'm not sure about the TV companys sound my sax sounds like a chainsaw however it was a fab gig played to over 5000 people. Ok bedtime, no lie in expected.

Live at the Map Cafe in Kentish Town

The above video is from my first concert this year. As you can hear it's a preview of some of my new material which will be featured on my next album which I'm planning to record live at Pizza Express in April. The above tune is called 'I'm not being funny or anything' which is the phrase that seems to have replaced 'with all due respect'! I used the line as I always find it funny when someone starts a sentence with that phrase, they generally end up never being funny in anyway.

My good friend Zeeteah Massiah also sang a couple of beautiful tunes which the audience really loved. It felt really scary playing in such an intimate venue but on the other hand it was refreshing to be able to hear every instrument so clearly and also a joy to hear them in a non amplified way. Sometimes when I play in other situations after the first few notes have been played in a really loud sound check I can't help but think that we could all do this a lot better at half the volume, or am I just getting old?! Volume is something I need to look at to, when I hear my playing in full flow in this video I ought to drop the volume by a notch to hold onto my tone. It's an ongoing battle playing live and going for it but at the same time not blasting away your audience (and tone) by blowing too hard.

Anyway as I sit here the ground is covered in snow outside, which seems to be a common thing for the UK over the last few years. I look forward to pushing forward and recording new material and then taking that out and performing.  A big thank you goes out to Roger Beaujolais who has been so helpful and inspiring in his approach to preparing the music.

Mary Pearce live at the Hideaway

I'm very much looking forward to performing with Mary Pearce at the fantastic Hideaway club in Streatham on Friday 10th Feb. Mary has 'gears' as I call it meaning she has the ability to step up and up on a gig. It's always a real musical pleasure. Click on the link to check out the club.

      My next workshop is at sax.co.uk (the Sussex head quarters) on Thursday 16th Feb from 7pm to 9pm.

ABC in Berlin

I had a great time last week performing with ABC in Germany. Here is a clip from the gig in Berlin.

'Free To Solo' Masterclass

free to solo altosax

 I am the co-author of a play along book called 'Free To Solo' (published by Schott) which is due for release on Feb 16th 2011. The book has been designed to develop your capacity to play on contemporary tunes. Written in contrasting styles, with an emphasis on having fun. I hosted a Masterclass on Tuesday 22nd Feb to promote the book. This is how the workshop went.........

If you are interested in booking me to host a masterclass please get in touch via the contact page.

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